While we have gone on quite a few road trips and domestic flights in the last 5 or so years, we have not traveled internationally. Susie was just not up for a 9+ hour long haul flight with significant time zone changes, and I was concerned about what to do if we needed to seek help in a foreign country. So it has been close to a decade that we have not seen family in Israel and friends in the UK. Our hesitation came to an end this September.
My eldest cousin’s daughter was getting married, in Haifa, at the end of September. We were planning to send our eldest to the wedding, but (fortunately) he started a new job in Boston. With our youngest in second year of University, we decided to look into us traveling to Israel. There was a lot of hemming, hawing and hand-wringing. The clincher was a friend invited us sailing in Tahiti on a 50ft catamaran, where the boat, captain and food was already paid for. Susie understood sailing in Tahiti is a dream of mine, but living on a boat for 7-10 days was not her idea of fun. So we agreed if Tahiti was a no-go (at this time), then we would move forward with Israel.
I planned the trip so we would spend almost two weeks in Israel. On our return, we would stop in the UK for 5 days to visit friends. I also purchased travel insurance with significant health coverage, just to be safe, and arranged a wheelchair with the airline for Susie. We had a direct flight from Austin to London Heathrow, using British Airways. The flights were smooth and Susie slept for much of them. We stayed with my cousin who lives in a village called Yodfat (lower Galilee). I walked or rode bikes with his son every morning. We went to a Diwan Saz concert in a nearby Bedouin village and hosted/ attended many family dinners. Susie even went swimming in the Mediterranean on Rosh Hashanah. It was such a wonderful and special visit.
When we were in the UK, we stayed our first night with a dear a friend in London and then the rest of the visit we were in Cambridge. We organized a meet up at our favorite pub, The Cambridge Blue, and attended multiple lunches/ dinners with dear friends. Besides Susie needing to sleep a lot, our main challenge was packing for the two vastly different climates. It was raining and 4 C/ 39 F when we landed in London. Fortunately the weather warmed up in Cambridge to a balmy 13 C/ 55 F.
Below are a few photos from our time in Yodfat, Israel.